Newcastle Sakekamer, striving for economic development

The Newcastle Sakekamer has been a part of the community for decades. Acting as a driving force in the economic development of Newcastle.

But who are the men and women who make up the iconic organisation and what is their role in the Winter Festival?

The Newcastillian met the Newcastle Sakekamer to find out more about these men and women who play an integral role in our town.

Sakekamer President and the General Manager at Vulintaba Country Estate, Henry van der Linde, has been with the organisation for three years.

Vice president, Morne Seaman of Ethemba Computers and Consulting has been with the Sakekamer for 10 years.

Andre Kotze, Vice-President, is involved in the financial planning, medical aid and short-term insurance industry. He has been with Newcastle Sakekamer for 10 years.

Angelique van Vuuren is the PRO and Secretary at the Sakekamer and is part of the Winter Festival Marketing team.

Involved in Marketing, sales and real estate in her professional life, Angelique has been with the Sakekamer for three years.

NT Oosthuizen, chartered accountant of Lee Oosthuizen and Smith, has been with the Sakekamer for 28 years and is the treasurer.

Rob Russell is a member of management at the Sakekamer and is a labour law practitioner, labour & family mediator and arbitrator.

A member of 10 years, Hennie Pelser is a broker and is a member of management at the Sakekamer.

Dietician, Jandri Barnard is a member of management at the organisation and been a member of the Newcastle Sakekamer for 10 years.

Member of management, Jan Smith has been with the Newcastle Sakekamer with seven years and he deals with 4×4 accessories, camping and outdoor equipment.

Member of 10 years and a member of management, Karel Frackers is the Customer Services area manager for Eskom.

Ferdie Alberts has been with the organisation for 15 years and used to work at the Newcastle Municipality.

Member of management, Anel du Preez has been a member of the Sakekamer for a year.

“I am the owner of Canned Culture, a development agency that uses entrepreneurship models to help businesses obtain their social BEE points, while having a sustainable effect on communities without wasting time and money. “

Louw Conradie, MD at Nashua, has been with the Sakekamer for a year and is a member of management.

Attorney at DBM Attorneys, Gerrit Coetzee has dedicated 26 years of his life to the Newcastle Sakekamer and is a member of management.

Member of the Sakekamer for 19 years, Japie Myburgh is a member of management at the Sakekamer and is involved in Real Estate.

As a member of management, Louis Venter joined the organisation three months ago. He is involved in chrome manufacturing.

We asked members how the Sakekamer helped them in their lives. This is what they have to say:

“It is not often, that so many people, with so much knowledge, sit around a table, all willing to share everything they know. That is exactly what we do at the Newcastle Sakekamer. We make it our business to know what is happening in the district, the municipality, town planning, the economy, politics, farming, as well as agriculture. Listening to, and sharing with people who have a wealth of knowledge, has taught me so much about the world and environment we live in. I hear of the brilliance, as well as the desperation, and that inspires me to get involved, to do something and to make a difference. We all have to do our bit to grow our town and to make a real difference in the lives of people we share every day with,” explains Henry

Morne says the Sakekamer has helped develop his corporate communication skills and public engagement skills

Andre explains, “It has helped my interaction with other businessmen and networking opportunities.”

For Angelique, it has provided her an opportunity to meet new people, building lasting relationships with businesses in and around Newcastle. “It has also given me the ability to be directly involved with the Winter Festival and be part of this unique community project.”

NT explains the Sakekamer has provided him with the opportunity to build lasting friendships.

Louw adds that his time with the Sakekamer has introduced him to other local businesses.

“It has offered me involvement in community aspects around Newcastle, and close involvement in the annual Winter Festival,” says Louis.

Gerrit emphasises that being a member created the opportunity to meaningfully engage with the business community on matters of mutual interest, socialise and establishment.

Coming from a municipal background, Feridie says being involved with Sakekamer is a great experience. “It exposes a person to the business community whilst sharing experience.”

Japie explains by having his own business, he can contribute his expertise to the Sakekamer and Sakekamer gave the opportunity to obtain significant information which he could use in his business. “I was able to communicate or network with people on an informal basis over the table.”

Anel says since moving from Pretoria to Newcastle in June 2017, it has been challenging to find her feet. “The Sakekamer gave me the opportunity to focus on something outside of my work and home life that linked me with new people and businesses, assisting me to put down roots.”

Karel explains the Sakekamer has given him a platform to meet and interact with all the prominent business people in the Newcastle area, thereby building up a lot of business contacts. “It has given me over the years a lot of opportunity to network with other business people. It has also given me the platform to share relevant and pertinent information with businesses about Eskom issues.”

Jan says it has helped him with his patience, while Jandri says she has grown through the interaction with other businessmen and networking opportunities.

Working in labour, Robb says through the Sakekamer, he has grown through meeting an array of new people.

For Hennie, it has helped him in his duties at the Winter Festival. “I have been the project leader of the Winter Festival for many years and this helped me to build lasting relationships,” he says.

How do respective team members contribute to the Winter Festival and Sakekamer respectively? 

As every member of the Sakekamer has their own portfolios, most do not have any direct contribution to the management of the festival. Hennie Pelser, the project leader, is the Sakekamer’s link to the event.

He provides regular updates on the planning and course of events. The Sakekamer team then provides support where needed. Some of the team assists in an advisory role and looks after the finances.

They also have members on the Festival committee and members, who have been part of the festival as stall holders. This gives the Sakekamer the understanding of the amount of work that goes into an event like this. Which is why the organisation has a great deal of respect for the Winter Festival team.

When talking about its contribution as the Sakekamer, members promote the event through their respective channels. Assisting members to benefit from the Winter Festival and every other event or opportunity.  

Using the influx of people to boost the local economy is very important to the Sakekamer and they are truly invested in our community.

What role does the Winter Festival play in Newcastle?

The Sakekamer team explains there are two main roles that the festival plays.

1) From a business point of view, it is the largest annual event on the Newcastle calendar. It provides a platform for local artists and businesses to exhibit their products and services as well as create an influx of customers into Newcastle.

2) From a community point of view, an event like this creates a sense of community when people spend time together. And what better place to do that, than in a relaxed setting being entertained and eating good food.

The Winter Festival also ensures our cultural elements are preserved for future generations. As well as enabling the financial contributions to go to charities and schools in the greater Newcastle area.

From a business perspective what role does the Sakekamer play in Newcastle?

The Sakekamer’s mandate is to assist with economic development of Newcastle and surrounding areas. This is usually through various services to the business community. Over the years the impact on businesses has been very little, but its new management team has a new plan to provide more benefits in the coming months.  

Behind the scenes, the Sakekamer represents members and the community at all government spheres and represent members at provincial and national business forums.

What are the members goals to assist the Sakekamer in reaching its full potential in 2019?

According to the Sakekamer team, their goal for 2019 is to bring the Sakekamer into the 21st century, using technology to serve our business community.

“We are changing the focus of our website to become a central point of information. Changing the way we communicate and broadening our audience, to ensure our members receive optimal opportunity to do business.”   

The Sakekamer will also look for opportunities for members to participate in tourism, arts and culture and other events. As well as to put Newcastle on the map where it belongs

What are the organisation’s plans in 2019 to getting more businesses involved in the Sakekamer? 

When the new team was appointed, members realised the Sakekamer has been running on the same business model that was relevant at its inception.

“We need to change to stay relevant and of use to our business community. The plan is to start with small changes, as people do not really like to change. But if we do our jobs well, we are sure the community will knock on our doors to become members, because they will see a benefit in it for them.”

How does the Sakekamer as a unit support the Winter Festival committee? 

The Sakekamer plans to be at the Winter Festival, supporting the Winter Festival committee. Furthermore, to hear the committee’s plans and provide input when required, and to help promote the event through our channels. Ready to assist wherever needed.

Well done to Newcastle Sakekamer for contributing to the Newcastle community.

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